Poor defense and questionable play-calling forced Atlanta to play from behind for much of the contest and allowed the Jets to win on a last-second field goal in the end.
New York: 30
Game Analysis for Atlanta
Pass Offense: The Falcons passing attack continues to be the strength of the team.
While quarterback Matt Ryan played a superb game, he was consistently pressured and had trouble attacking deep downfield.
Still, the sixth-year pro was extremely efficient with his opportunities. Ryan completed 36 of 45 pass attempts for 319 yards and two scores. He was not the reason the Falcons lost this game.
Run Offense: After being stifled through much of the first half, the Falcons ground game got going in the second.
Of course, the Jets were playing with a lead and primed to defend Ryan and the rest of the aerial attack.
Jacquizz Rodgers led the Falcons with 43 yards on 14 attempts, and his two second-half touchdowns nearly allowed Atlanta to pull out the victory.
Pass Defense: The Falcons allowed Geno Smith to shred the secondary in the first half but did a much better job of pressuring the rookie signal-caller in the second.
However, Smith made the most of his opportunities, completing 16 of 20 pass attempts for 199 yards with three scores and no turnovers.
More importantly, the Falcons could not prevent Smith from leading the game-winning drive with less than two minutes remaining.
Run Defense: Atlanta might have been even worse at stopping the run than it was at running the ball.
The Jets amassed 118 yards on the ground with an average of 5.4 yards per rush. New York was especially effective running the ball in the second half, which allowed the Jets to shorten the game and get the final score.
Special Teams: A blocked punt jump-started a Jets scoring drive in the first quarter. A big return and a penalty for a horse-collar tackle led to another early in the fourth.
While Atlanta’s special teams unit didn’t directly give up any points in this game, it was largely responsible for putting the Falcons in a hole throughout.
Coaching: Head coach Mike Smith’s decision to bypass a field goal at the end of the first half proved to be costly as the final margin of defeat was only two.
Defensive play-calling was also a major issue, especially in the first half and on the final drive. The fact that Atlanta gave up 30 points and lost to a rookie quarterback at home does not reflect positively on defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
First-Half Analysis for Atlanta
Pass Offense: Ryan had a solid first half, completing 16 of 19 pass attempts for 127 yards and a score.
Unfortunately, he was unable to get the football into the end zone at the end of the first half and will likely find the game on his shoulders in the second thanks to Atlanta’s lackluster rushing attack.
Run Offense: With starting running back Steven Jackson again out with a hamstring injury, the Falcons have turned to the duo of Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling.
Rodgers and Snelling have been adequate in Jackson’s absence, but the Jets were better in the first half at bottling up the Falcons rushing offense.
Atlanta’s inability to run the football was evident in the first half and was a major reason why the Falcons were unable to score just before the half.
Pass Defense: The Falcons gave Smith far too much time to attack downfield in the first half.
Smith had his way with the Falcons secondary, completing eight of nine attempts for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Run Defense: When the Jets have decided to run the football, they have had relative success. Mike Goodson led the Jets with 32 yards on three carries in the first half.
Atlanta will have to do a better job of defending the run, especially with New York playing with a lead.
Special Teams: A blocked punt early in the first quarter set the Jets up with excellent field position and the first lead of the game.
Other than that play, the Falcons’ special teams unit has performed admirably.
Coaching: Aside from a nifty shovel pass that resulted in a touchdown, Atlanta’s offense has been relatively bland through two quarters. Fortunately, the execution on the field has made the play-calling work.
Defensively, the Falcons have been embarrassed by Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. The execution has not been there on that side of the football.
Nolan is going to have to find a way to put his unit in position to make plays in the second half, or else this game could quickly turn into a shootout.
A bizarre series of play calls at the end of the first half left the Falcons out of the end zone and down 10 points. The blame must be placed on Coach Smith for the current deficit.